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Published on Aug 20, 2012
The Concerto in A major, dated December 20, 1775, was probably performed during the holiday season in Salzburg, with Mozart himself as soloist. In addition to the solo violin, the score calls for 2 oboes, 2 horns, and strings.
Mozart's brilliance at the keyboard is as well known as his compositions themselves; he was admired in his own time as an outstanding performer and improviser, and he composed most of his piano concertos for his own use. That he was also an accomplished violinist is less emphasized, but he introduced at least some of his concertos for that instrument as well. He could hardly escape the violin, for his father, Leopold, was a widely respected master violinist whose pedagogical treatise was in use long after both father and son were gone.
Not long after Wolfgang reached his teens he was serving as concertmaster in the orchestra maintained by the Archbishop of Salzburg. Naturally, Leopold was pleased to have his son playing his own instrument, and insisted that he might well become "the foremost violinist in Europe" if he would only apply himself; all of Wolfgang's violin concertos were composed in a brief period in those teen years, and he is assumed to have been the soloist in the respective premieres.
As early as 1773 Mozart produced the first of his five authenticated violin concertos and a Concertone ("Big Concerto") for two violins and orchestra; each year from that time through 1776 he inserted a miniature violin concerto in one of his big orchestral serenades.
The last and greatest of the five concertos we know without question to be his was completed some five weeks before his twentieth birthday and, like its four predecessors, calls for the modest orchestra of oboes, horns and strings that was more or less the norm in Salzburg.